As a business owner, it can seem like you have an endless list of expenses, from startup costs and office supplies to travel for conferences and meetings. Tracking these costs can get tricky, especially when you’re mixing personal and business purchases all within one bank account or credit card.

Whether you own a small business with numerous employees or are self-employed, a business credit card can serve as a tool to organize your finances and fund your growing business. Plus, you can earn some serious rewards and perks along the way.

By learning how to use a business credit card to your full advantage, the burden of daily business expenses can be eased.

Fund startup or expansion expenses

It can be challenging to find funding to start a business or expand your current endeavors. Many people turn to investors or banks to secure a business loan, but business credit cards are a great option to consider.

A business credit card can give you almost immediate funding. You can apply online and potentially gain approval within minutes. A business loan is a much longer, drawn-out process varying by the lender. Additionally, you’ll have access to a revolving line of credit you can continuously use throughout your business journey without having to reapply or submit new documentation each time you need more cash flow.

However, credit cards typically come with a high-interest rate, which means you can quickly rack up credit card debt if you don’t stay on top of your payments. You also have to consider the added late fees, which could get tacked on if you miss any payments. So, you’ll need to carefully weigh whether a credit card makes sense for your business for both your short and long-term finances. Plus, you’ll want to make a plan to ensure you use it in a way to maximize its return on investment (ROI).

Fund business travel with travel rewards

One of the most significant benefits of using a business credit card is you can earn rewards for the business purchases you’re already planning to make.

Much like a personal credit card, the best business credit cards let you earn points or miles to use for purchasing flights. Having a business card means your regular business transactions — like paying for inventory or the business cost of your cell phone plan — could help cover the cost of your next business trip.

To maximize your travel rewards, you should pay with your business credit card whenever possible. You can also see if lenders will allow you to pay with credit and connect all your recurring business bills for automatic payments. This can help you unlock greater travel rewards and eventually earn a higher-tier status with some cards.

Further, many business credit cards offer other benefits, including travel insurance for trip cancellations and lost baggage to ensure your trip is protected. You may also be able to take advantage of premium travel perks, like VIP airport lounge access, preferred boarding privileges and complimentary upgrades.

Earn cash back rewards for your business spending

Business credit cards offering cash back rewards often enable you to earn through your purchases as well as promotions. For instance, a business credit card might provide 5% cash back on all purchases made at office supply stores. Further, it may offer a cash back bonus if you hit a spending threshold in the first three months of opening your account.

Choose a card that aligns with your existing business spending or put together a budget for future expense categories. For example, if your business requires substantial networking activities to meet new clients, then you might consider a credit card providing bonus categories focused on dining out. These categories will help maximize your cash back rewards, which can be filtered back into the company for upcoming expenses.

Many cards also have partner offers, which can be used to boost your reward earnings, too. Make sure to explore all your card’s features and take advantage of partner rewards when the opportunity matches your business needs.

Manage your spending

Lastly, you’ll want to manage your spending to minimize your costs. Carrying large balances will cost you more in interest and can hurt your credit.

Start by tracking your spending and making a plan to pay off your balance each month. You want to avoid paying unnecessary interest and going into debt over time. If you have additional credit cards for your employees, set spending limits for each cardholder and request expense reports to curb spending abuse.

Set up automatic payments to at least cover the minimum, but ideally, the full payment for each billing cycle. Sign up for text and email alerts, so you can easily track the activity on your account. You may also want to create reminders if you’re immersed in running your business and forget about a due date.

By using a business credit card, you’ll have detailed and organized records of your business expenses come tax season. You won’t have to sift through personal and business accounts to hunt down which transactions qualify as business tax deductions. All your spending will be summarized in one spot, alleviating some of the burdens associated with filing your taxes.

Additionally, you’ll likely have access to cardholder perks, like extended warranties and other purchase protections, particularly if your business relies on equipment. These protections can save you money if you need to return purchases outside of the standard store policy or if your items are damaged or stolen.

The bottom line

With proper planning and monitoring, you can use a business credit card to help your operation while gaining access to numerous benefits. Look for a card aligning with your business spending, which offers the most rewards and benefits while keeping costs down. It’s always a good idea to shop around to find the best value you qualify for, then create a plan to minimize card costs while maximizing returns.